In response to petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 through 180) to update, clarify, or provide relief from miscellaneous regulatory requirements.
The proposed revisions are intended to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing the existing level of safety. The following is a summary of the proposed regulatory changes:
- Revise approved testing methods for aerosols
- Revise a table related to cargo tank specifications
- Update the IBR citation for chlorine tank cars
- Address inconsistencies between international and domestic labels
- Revise the vessel requirement to notify the Captain of the Port (COTP) to the presence of limited quantities of hazardous materials
- Revise testing requirements for packages to allow liquids to be used in place of solid materials
- Add a shipping description for roadway striping vehicles
- Extend the service life of tank cars authorized under HM-246 to the full service life of other tanks cars authorized under 49 CFR 215.203 of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations
- Permit the use of pallets made of non-wood materials for limited quantities
- Revise requirements for when emergency response numbers are required for excepted quantities
- Change units for limited quantities of ethyl alcohol to the International System of Units
- Propose changes concerning valve requirements for cylinders as outlined in “CGA V-9-2012, Compressed Gas Association Standard for Compressed Gas Cylinder Valves, Seventh Edition”
- Incorporate CGA standard “CGA C-7-2014, Guide to Classification and Labeling of Compressed Gases, Tenth Edition”
- Remove requirement for the marking of the service pressure on DOT 8 and DOT 8L cylinders
- Revise recordkeeping requirements for certain cargo tanks certified in accordance with the ASME Code
- Revise the printing tolerances for label and placard sizes
- Incorporate Department of Defense (DoD) explosives manual into 49 CFR 171.7
- Allow use of electronic hazardous waste manifest
- Amend the HMR to acknowledge that the marked date of manufacture on a composite Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) may differ from the marked date of manufacture on the inner receptacle of that IBC
- Revise the basis weight tolerance provided in 49 CFR 178.516(b)(7) from ± 5% to ? 10% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design qualification test report for 4G boxes
New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials
EPA’s new final on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This, which went into effect on July 13, 2015, streamlines the regulatory burden for wastes that are legitimately recycled.
The first of the two exclusions is an exclusion from the definition of solid waste for high-value solvents transferred from one manufacturer to another for the purpose of extending the useful life of the original solvent by keeping the materials in commerce to reproduce a commercial grade of the original solvent product.
The second, and more wide-reaching of the two exclusions, is a revision of the existing hazardous secondary material recycling exclusion. This exclusion allows you to recycle, or send off-site for recycling, virtually any hazardous secondary material. Provided you meet the terms of the exclusion, the material will no longer be hazardous waste.
Learn how to take advantage of these exclusions at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast on July 8 where you will learn:
- Which of your materials qualify under the new exclusions
- What qualifies as a hazardous secondary material
- Which solvents can be remanufactured, and which cannot
- What is a tolling agreement
- What is legitimate recycling
- Generator storage requirements
- What documentation you must maintain
- Requirements for off-site shipments
- Training and emergency planning requirements
- If it is acceptable for the recycler to be outside the US
Bring your questions to this live webcast. Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372.
Macon, Georgia, RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Macon, GA, on July 19–21 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Raleigh Area HAZWOPER and DOT/IATA Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 24-Hour Training in Cary, NC, on July 25–27 and ensure you are ready to respond in an emergency. Get the transportation training you need in one day at DOT/IATA: Transportation of Hazardous Materials by Ground and Air on June 28. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Cleveland RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cleveland, OH, on July 26–28 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
DOT Hazardous Material Penalties Go Up
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration has revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which amended the Federal Civil Penalties, Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, requires Agencies to update their civil monetary penalties through interim final rulemaking. The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $77,114, except for violations that result in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property, for which the maximum civil penalty is $179,933. The minimum civil penalty for a violation relating to training is now $463. The new rule goes into effect on August 1, 2016.
EPA Revises Standards of Performance for Stationary Compression Ignition Internal Combustion Engines
EPA issued a Final Rule amending the standards of performance for stationary compression ignition (CI) internal combustion engines to allow manufacturers to design the engines so that operators can temporarily override performance inducements related to the emission control system for stationary CI internal combustion engines. The amendments apply to engines operating during emergency situations where the operation of the engine or equipment is needed to protect human life, and to require compliance with Tier 1 emission standards during such emergencies. The EPA is also amending the standards of performance for certain stationary CI internal combustion engines located in remote areas of Alaska.
EPA Publishes Final Aquatic Life Criterion for Selenium
EPA has published the final updated national chronic aquatic life criterion for the pollutant selenium in fresh water. The 2016 criterion document is the final update of EPA's 1999 recommended chronic aquatic life criterion for selenium, developed per Clean Water Act section 304(a). The 2016 criterion reflects the latest scientific information, which indicates that selenium toxicity to aquatic life is primarily driven by organisms consuming selenium-contaminated food rather than by being exposed only to selenium dissolved in water. This is EPA’s first fish-tissue based aquatic life criterion. EPA indicated that technical support materials will be beneficial to states and authorized tribes, and the agency will release such materials for public comment after the final selenium criterion is published. These materials will include fish tissue monitoring guidance as well as FAQs and fact sheets addressing the flexibility of states and authorized tribes in implementing the criteria, assessing and listing water body impairments, and wastewater permitting.
Savage Arms Inc. Fined $77,000 for Failing to Properly Report Toxic Chemicals
A Westfield, Massachusetts, company that manufactures rifles, has improved reporting of toxic materials used in their processes as a result of a settlement with the EPA. Savage Arms, Inc., is now in compliance with the federal right-to-know law and has agreed to pay $77,000 to settle claims.
The Savage Arms Inc. company manufactures rifles and small arms. The Westfield facility makes approximately 980 each day. Part of the manufacturing process requires the use of lead and chromium, two metals that require reporting for the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Reporting the use of toxic materials is important to ensure community members know about chemicals present in their communities.
In October 2014, after an inspection of the Westfield facility, EPA discovered that Savage Arms, Inc., failed to submit required information relating to its use of lead and chromium in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Once notified of the failure the company willingly came into compliance and submitted the required information.
"It's so important for a facility like Savage to keep its toxic inventory reporting updated because it is the first step to inform the community about the presence of chemicals in their neighborhood," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.
The Toxic Release Inventory is a resource for learning about toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities. Toxic Release Inventory data support informed decision-making by communities, government agencies, companies, and others. Timely information from the Toxic Release Inventory can influence health studies as well as the cleanup of industrial pollution.
The Toxic Substances in this Case:
- Lead itself does not break down in the environment and can affect almost every organ and system in the human body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children.
- Chromium is a respiratory irritant that enters the body when airborne particles are inhaled. The company has air emissions control systems to capture these pollutants but nonetheless must report that it uses these substances.
DOT Cites Sunoco Pipeline L.P. for Unreported Accident
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) and Proposed Compliance Order, and proposed $1,539,800 in civil penalties following its investigation that the operator allegedly failed to report an accident that occurred in 2013 at the West Texas Gulf Pipeline Company’s Wortham, Texas, facility. West Texas Gulf Pipe Line Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunoco Logistics Partners, L.P.
PHMSA became aware of the accident in February 2015, and contacted the operator to initiate an investigation. The accident occurred while the operator performed maintenance work within the Wortham station and resulted in one injury requiring hospitalization and the release of .1 barrels of crude oil. The NOPV identifies a total of 15 violations of the pipeline safety regulations related to the 2013 accident. Read enforcement documents resulting from this investigation here.
EPA Publishes Final Rule Amending Restrictions on Use of the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites
The EPA issued a Final Rule establishing new restrictions on the use of the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites. The Final Rule amends the 2005 site designation rule with new restrictions on the use of the two sites to help meet the goal of reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in the open waters of Long Island Sound.
The Final Rule sets standards and procedures to promote the development and use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal. One proposed procedure is to establish a standing, interagency "Steering Committee" and "Regional Dredging Team" for Long Island Sound. These groups will be comprised of federal and state agency representatives that will work together to identify, develop, and promote the use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged material, such as using sand for beach nourishment. They also will review dredging projects and offer recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding how the dredged material from such projects should be handled.
The designation of dredged material disposal sites by EPA only makes those sites available for potential use by future dredging projects; it does not actually authorize disposal of any material at the site. Any proposal to place dredged material at either the Central or Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site would still have to obtain a project-specific authorization and satisfy the stringent requirements of the ocean disposal regulations.
These regulatory amendments were made available for public review and comment through March 25, 2016. EPA received 119 comments on the proposed rule.
Industrial Coatings Firm Fined $80,000 For Dangerous Waste Violations
An industrial painting, coating, and blasting company faces $80,000 in state environmental penalties for dangerous waste violations at facilities in Seattle and Auburn, Washington. The Washington Department of Ecology issued the fine to Puget Sound Coatings after multiple inspections since 2008 showed no marked improvement in its compliance history. The most recent violations were found during inspections of the facilities in July and August 2015.
“These were significant violations by a firm we’d expect to see in better compliance, given its experience and knowledge,” said Darin Rice, manager of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “We recognize the corrections the company makes after individual inspections, but those changes don’t seem to last. Many similar firms follow state hazardous waste laws to protect the environment, and Puget Sound Coatings must do so as well.”
Ecology cited the Seattle facility, at 9220 8th Ave. S, for six violations; five were repeat violations from previous inspections. The facility failed to:
- Conduct designation—a process to determine whether dangerous waste criteria apply to waste materials—at eight areas where waste is generated
- Keep containers of dangerous waste closed
- Prevent evaporation of dangerous waste into the air
- Properly label dangerous waste containers
- Label containers of hazardous waste with an accumulation start date
- Promptly clean up dangerous waste spills
The company’s Auburn facility, at 310 44th St. NW, failed to:
- Register the facility as a hazardous waste generator, subjecting it to regulatory oversight
- Provide hazardous waste training for employees at that location
- Evaluate waste materials for designation as dangerous waste
“Puget Sound Coatings is disappointed to receive this fine,” said Hugh LaBossier, the company’s president. “We recognize the importance of diligent adherence to the department’s rules and regulations and strive to be a leader in environmental practices in the industry. We will redouble our efforts to protect public health and our environment. We are and will work diligently to improve our processes, procedures and training where needed, and look forward to continuing to successfully working with Ecology.”
Washington’s dangerous waste law and regulations set standards to protect the public and the environment from releases of potentially harmful waste materials at commercial and industrial facilities. Ecology inspects workplaces that generate dangerous wastes to ensure compliance with requirements for safe handling and storage.
Puget Sound Coatings has the right to appeal the penalty within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.
EPA Reduces Exposure to Asbestos Hazards in Oklahoma Schools
The EPA recently awarded $202,970 to the Oklahoma Department of Labor to help protect school children and state workers from possible asbestos exposures.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) program provides protection through on-site surveillance where asbestos is found. AHERA requires local education agencies to inspect schools for asbestos-containing building material and prepare management plans to reduce the hazard. The Act also establishes a program for the training and accreditation of individuals performing certain types of asbestos work.
Although asbestos is hazardous, human risk of asbestos disease depends upon exposure. Removal is often not the best course of action to reduce asbestos exposure. Improper removal may create a dangerous situation where none previously existed. EPA only requires removal in order to prevent significant public exposure to asbestos, such as during building renovation or demolition. EPA recommends in-place management whenever asbestos is discovered. Instead of removal, implementation of a management plan will usually control fiber release when materials are not significantly damaged and are not likely to be disturbed.
Montana DEQ Petitions on Behalf of EPA on Nutrient Litigation
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced it will petition to intervene on the Environmental Protection Agency’s behalf in a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s approval of the states implementation strategy for water quality standards for nutrients. The suit was filed in federal district court in Great Falls by Upper Missouri River Waterkeeper.
Developing water quality standards for nutrients was one of the most robust public involvement processes ever undertaken by DEQ," said DEQ Deputy Director George Mathieus. "It was a collaborative effort involving cities and towns, industry, public interest groups, and DEQ. Montana DEQ was one of the first states in the nation to develop scientifically based criteria to protect water quality with an achievable implementation strategy.”
This case involves water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus in rivers and streams. These nutrients are not toxins but rather cause growth of algae in streams. EPA approved the standards and the implementation strategy, which involves a phased implementation of the standards. The purpose of the phasing is to avoid economic hardship on cities, towns, and other dischargers by giving them time to develop economically and technologically feasible ways of complying with the standards. In this lawsuit, Upper Missouri River Waterkeeper asks the court to nullify the phased implementation strategy. For more information about DEQs nutrient standards, see: http://deq.mt.gov/Water/WQPB/standards/numericnutrientcriteria.
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Earns Green Marine Certification for Environmental Performance
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) was recently honored for its environmental performance results for 2015, which demonstrated its continued excellence and leadership in environmental sustainability, by Green Marine, a North American environmental certification program.
“The men and women working in every mode of transportation at DOT have a deep commitment to improved sustainability,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are proud to see the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation earn this year’s Green Marine certification, and look forward to their continued leadership and progress in this area.”
Green Marine is a voluntary organization which certifies environmental stewardship among the North American marine industry. Participants include ship owners, ports, terminals, and shipyards based in the United States and Canada, as well as U.S. and Canadian Seaway corporations.
The program encourages participants to reduce their environmental footprint by taking concrete actions in twelve different areas, including air pollution emissions, greenhouse gases, aquatic invasive species, waste management, and community impact. This year’s Green Marine Performance Report is based on information from 100 different participants, a record for the report’s 8-year history.
“The sustainability advantages of maritime shipping add up to a significant benefit for shippers and the public,” said SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton. “We are so pleased to have earned this certification of our environmental performance efforts during the 2015 shipping season.”
The SLSDC and its Canadian counterpart, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, chose to have their 2015 results published as a single entry in the Green Marine Performance Report, reflecting the bi-national nature of the Seaway and the two agencies’ close working relationship in pursuit of environmental excellence. The partnership earned scores of 4.1 for Greenhouse Gases, Spill Prevention, and Community Impact, and earned a perfect 5 for Environmental Leadership.
Environmental News Links
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Clean Energy Pact for North America
Uncertainty About How EPA Coal Ash Rule is to be Implemented
New Frontier: Waste Incineration in Space
Groups Sue EPA over Air Pollution Standards
Communities Uneasy as Utilities Look for Places to Store Coal Ash
EPA Urges States to Publish Individual Lead Water Samples
Forest Service Issues Draft Revisions to Eagle Incidental Take Rule
Los Angeles’s 5-Year Rain is Lowest in Recorded History
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Proposal to Revise Water Quality Standards Rule
EPA Decides Not to Regulate Forest Road Stormwater Discharges
Trivia Question of the Week
What is the leading cause of leakage in underground storage tanks?
a) Leak detection with a dipstick
b) Piping leaks
d) Tank corrosion